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Visual fundraising tracking - a fundraising thermometer alternative

Fundraising thermometers have been a popular tool in fundraising offices and charities for years. Why? It's simple really - they help us to understand our progress against a target. A large majority of people are visual learners, so seeing how we're doing helps to keep us motivated.

The question is, why do we use a thermometer to show progress against a target? Unless you are raising money to buy a new heating system (and let's be honest - who is?), why have we decided to represent progress with a thermometer?

Visual fundraising tracking

Visual fundraising tracking is simply an alternative to the fundraising thermometer. You start your campaign at zero and represent your progress against a fundraising target by building a picture. As you receive donations, the picture fills up. For example:

  • Adding stars to a night sky
  • Decorating a tree with ribbons or lights
  • Planting flowers in a garden
  • Lighting remembrance candles

Why does it work?

One of the main reasons why people choose not to donate to charity is because they think their support won't make a difference. "A gift of £5 doesn't go very far in a charity that needs millions of pounds a year to operate." As fundraisers, we know that lots of people giving small amounts can raise seriously large amounts of money - our lower level donors may be giving more collectively than any of our charity's major donors! So visual fundraising works because it allows our donors to see what we already know.

  • It demonstrates the importance of community and a shared ownership – every person doing something small to create massive results.
  • It makes people feel good about helping others - a visual representation of their support is much more rewarding than sending in money anonymously, and allows donors to see the impact immediately. Using visual templates (instead of a thermometer) allows donors to pick the exact item they want to add to the picture, which gives an even stronger sense of ownership over their gift.
  • It creates a sense of urgency – seeing how close you are to the fundraising target, or to the complete picture, makes people want to rush to push the total over the top, allowing everyone to feel the collective reward of success.

Finally, by giving your donors the space to display their own personal message when donating, you enable each donor to tell their own story to inspire the next gift.

So if you're looking for an alternative to a fundraising thermometer, pick one of our templates to get started. We can't wait to see what you create!

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